Our response to Rachel Kalidass - SABC Board

GCEO appointment not finalised, her conduct constituted a breach of confidentiality


Johannesburg — Thursday, 16 November 2017 - The SABC Board note the resignation of Ms Rachel Kalidass as a non-executive member of the Board as of today's date. Ms. Kalidass' resignation letter contains a number of inaccuracies and, in the Board's view, mischaracterised her actions.

The 9 non-executive directors present — all of whom are part of the appointment process — are here to respond to her comments on he reasons for leaving. The only non-executive member not present, Mr. Kris Naidoo, was unable to attend at short notice but fully associates himself with this statement.

We will first deal with the facts and then state our position.

In the first discussion concerning executive appointments, several members expressed reservations about one candidate. Then and later members on both sides of the argument asked that those with reservation do their research and provide a reasoned case against the candidate.

All 11 met on October 31 to interview candidates for top positions. This was intended as an opportunity for all Board members to question the candidates and raise their own concerns. Others with reservations raised them, but Ms. Kalidass remained silent. When she raised them later, Board members questioned why she alone had failed to raise concerns when she had the candidate available to respond. We regarded this as a matter of fairness.

All members were aware of some allegations, but required that as a matter of good governance and fairness, we check these thoroughly, in view of known cases where people have been falsely maligned.

At the meeting and in subsequent emails she admitted she should have made her case in a stronger way than she did. She undertook repeatedly to provide a clear written position giving her reasons, but repeatedly failed to do so. Other Board members with reservations took the trouble to submit their written reservations, something Ms. Kalidass repeatedly failed to do.

For the public record:

1. The process of appointing these SABC executives remains unconcluded.

2. Three names were submitted to the previous Minister for each position.

Verification of the candidates' credentials was still under way and intended as part of the finalisation process.

3. The Board had, correctly in our view, agreed to maintain confidentiality while the process was under way. This is critical in respecting the privacy and integrity of candidates who are still working elsewhere. What Ms. Kalidass has not disclosed is that it was not only to parliament that she has breached board confidentiality, but also to several media outfits.

4. When asked in a subsequent joint Governance and Human Resources committee meeting to explain why she had leaked information during a process that was not completed, she admitted calling MPs, admitted she had shown bad judgement, apologised and offered to resign. No allegation of wrongdoing by the Board was suggested.

5. Once a decision on executive appointments is finalised, the public will be fully taken into the Board's confidence, and we will take pride in announcing the team that will manage the tumaround, that we firmly believe will bring the SABC back stronger than ever before.

Work done by the Interim Board has already ended the steady monthly losses, and is now focussing on the other major financial concern marshalling forces to address the substantial remaining debt accrued during previous times.

Ms Kalidass' self-characterisation as a victimised whistle-blower is incorrect. She participated in a Board discussion in which no allegation of illegality was committed or contemplated. She then disclosed its content outside the Board while the process was ongoing; giving the impression that it had been completed. Her conduct constituted a breach of Board confidentiality.

In the light of this history, we wish her well in her future endeavours.

The integrity of this Board will be judged by the work that we do and the results we achieve. We remain fully committed to serving this institution in the best interests of the public.

Issued by the SABC Board, 16 November 2017